Preaching about his death – John 12: 20-36
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
Jesus Speaks about His Death
27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.34 The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”
The Unbelief of the People
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
What does the passage say?
V. 20-26 While in Jerusalem, there were some Greeks who asked to meet Jesus. These Greeks are Gentiles, non-Jews according to the law, who might have been able to be part of the ritual of worship. However, it was still difficult for these Gentiles to approach Jesus or any other dignity in that culture. We see how cautious Philip was when he approached Jesus. He had to ask Andrew if it was okay and still didn’t have the courage to approach Jesus himself.
When Jesus was approached by Philip, presumably accompanied with the Greeks, he says, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (V. 23 The Message). Did this make any sense for them? Maybe not immediately, but later they understood what it meant.
Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was not only for the redemption of the Jews but also for the entire nation. In that culture, which was difficult for a non-Jew to approach God, Jesus made the way for all nations come back to the presence of our Lord.
V. 27-36 We learn that Jesus’ sacrifice was a difficult task for him. We remember that the courage to carry out God’s purpose was a struggle for him, until the very last minute of his sacrifice. However, in the time of his struggle, God’s voice from heaven is proclaimed. We remember that there were two other accounts where this happens; at Jesus’ baptism and the mountain where Jesus experienced transfiguration. Jesus says, “The voice didn’t come for me but for you” (v. 30 The Message).
Why did he say this? It is because he wants his followers to know that following in Jesus’ sacrifice is also asked for his disciples. Jesus’ struggle reminded the disciples that when we suffer for God’s glory, God will intervene and give us the strength to carry on God’s purpose.
What does this passage mean to me/us?
Our definition of victory should be focused on Jesus’s definition of victory. Jesus’ definition was to be victorious over the darkness even though it requires sacrificing his life.
Many, even Christians, still live in the definition of their own victory. Instead of following God’s victory, they want God to give them the victory they dream. And when Jesus invites them to follow him, they are like the followers who scattered during his suffering.
However, we understand that running away from this call of God does not give us a better life. We think that avoiding the suffering allows us to live a better life, but in a contrary, we do not experience the real freedom God is offering in our lives. Therefore, for us to experience restoration of our lives is to partake in God’s suffering.
It says, “In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal” (V. 25 The Message).
Lord, help us to partake in your suffering and see God’s restoration in our lives.
What are your thoughts?
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